South Korean car manufacturer Hyundai has earned a reputation in the industry for making reliable and safe cars. In 2018, according to Forbes, the company’s Santa Fe SUV came out on top in safety ratings for its category, while that same year the company topped the UK Vehicle Dependability Study to be named the most reliable car brand.
Hyundai is a relatively young car automotive company, having been founded in Seoul, the capital of South Korea, in 1967. In 1975, they designed and built the first South Korean car, the Hyundai Pony, which was also exported to Europe and South America.
Despite the company’s excellent reputation, there are lots of hidden problems in Hyundai cars that many drivers don’t know about or choose to ignore. Read on to find out what you need to know about Hyundai’s vehicles.
20 Problems With Their Proprietary Nu Engine
According to carcomplaints.com, thousands of Hyundai Elantra drivers reported problems with the proprietary Nu engine, which was first introduced in 2011. Owners had experienced various issues, such as noisy pistons and excessive oil sludge, which led to a class-action lawsuit, though it was dismissed in September 2019.
19 Hyundai Blue Link Costs Extra
Hyundai Blue Link is a connected vehicle system, which can be used to gather data about the car’s performance, identify potential engine problems, and even allow the owner to immobilize the car if it's stolen. It also has an automatic crash notification system, which is provided free by many car companies, but Blue Link costs extra.
18 Despite Often Being Advertised "As Standard"
Despite being advertised as standard on many models, drivers were told that if Blue Link was inactive for more than a year it could be reconnected for a small fee, when the truth is that it would be permanently disabled.
Carcomplaints.com reported that a Hyundai Sonata Hybrid owner was taking the company to court over their misleading marketing.
17 Millions Of Vehicles Recalled Because Of Brake Light Failures
Over the last decade, Hyundai has had to recall millions of vehicles because of an issue with faulty brake lights. Over a million small Hyundai cars were recalled in 2013 and 2014, followed by a further 250,000 models in 2017. The defect was reported to authorities by an ex-Hyundai employee, according to the BBC, who had raised concerns about 12 different vehicles.
16 Exploding Panoramic Sunroofs
A number of Hyundai models have been fitted with panoramic sunroofs – in theory, a great feature which ensures lots of natural light inside the car. In reality, these sunroofs have been found to rattle and even to explode while the car is in motion, leading to a class-action lawsuit settlement in 2019, as reported by Business Korea.
15 Brake Fluid Leak On Hyundai Sonata
Edmunds reported in 2014 that Hyundai had issued a recall notice for over 100,000 Sonata sedans for model year 2011 because of reported problems with the brake lines. Drovers had found that the brake lines on these models were leaking brake fluid, which increased the vehicle’s stopping distance and the risk of a crash.
14 Hyundai Santa Fe Stalling Issues
The Hyundai Santa Fe SUV may have a great reputation for safety, but the models sold between 2010 and 2012 have a big reliability problem: stalling. In fact, the Santa Fe’s engines have a very dangerous habit of stalling while the car is in motion regardless of how fast you're going, which can pose a real danger to drivers, passengers, and other road users.
13 Problems With Corrosion On Hyundai Azera
Some of the issues with Hyundai vehicles only apply if you live in certain parts of the United States. For example, the 2013 recall of Hyundai Azera executive cars reported in the Washington Post only applied to drivers in cold-weather states, where salt on the roads had been found to cause major corrosion problems on the chassis.
12 Oil Build-Up In The Theta Engines
The Nu engines aren’t the only Hyundai proprietary technology to cause the company some headaches. Their Theta II engine has also been the subject of complaints and recalls, due to the build-up of oil sludge, which can cause serious damage if not addressed. The problem affected over a million Hyundai vehicles, according to carcomplaints.com
11 Hood Doesn't Close Properly On Hyundai Tucson
The Hyundai Tucson is a rough and ready SUV that's perfect for off-road driving, or for taking the kids to their soccer match. However, be careful if you have to lift the hood, as 81,000 Tucsons built in 2016 had to be recalled because their latches were faulty, which could lead to the hood opening while the car is in motion.
10 Self-Healing Paint Peels Off
Hyundai uses a magical self-healing paint on their vehicles that's supposed to be scratch resistant as well as “fix” small dents over a period of time. Unfortunately, the paint itself has proven to be problematic, with Hyundai owners reporting that this self-healing paint is also self-peeling. Although there was lawsuit brought about by affected drivers, it was dismissed in 2017, according to carcomplaints.com
9 Hyundai Caught Cheating On Their MPG Figures
Everyone remembers the controversy when Volkswagen got caught massaging their emissions data, but few people remember that Hyundai was also guilty of cooking the books over MPG figures.
In 2013, Bloomberg reported that Hyundai was to pay out $395 million to owners who had sued the company over discrepancies in their MPG numbers.
8 Affected By The Mass Takata Airbag Recall
One of the biggest automotive recalls of recent times involved Takata airbags, which were found to be faulty after long-term exposure to heat and humidity. Tens of millions of vehicles were recalled from manufacturers around the world, and Hyundai was one of those companies affected by the Takata scandal.
7 Sonata Recalled Over Seatbelt Failure
Hyundai may have an excellent record for safety, but even the most safety-conscious car manufacturers can experience problems from time to time. In 2017, the website Cars.com reported that Hyundai was recalling over 400,000 sedans, such as the popular Sonata, when it was discovered that their safety belts might not do their job in a crash.
6 Risk Of Broken Axle On Hyundai Santa Fe Sport
At the same time that cold-weather Azeras were recalled for corrosion problems, Hyundai also issued a recall notice for 20,000 Hyundai Santa Fe SUVs from 2013. There had been reports that the front right axle on these vehicles could crack, causing the shaft to separate and the SUV to crash.
5 Hyundai Tuscon's Clutch Won't Accelerate
In 2016, the website CarComplaints.com reported that Hyundai was recalling that year’s Tucson SUV because of issues with the clutch on their dual transmission systems. There were 41,000 vehicles recalled when it was found that the fault could stop the Tucson from moving at all when the gas pedal was pressed and released repeatedly.
4 Driver's Door Can Open On Hyundai Veloster
The 2019 Hyundai Veloster has already been the subject of a recall, despite it not even being the end of the year!
CNET reported that the vehicle was recalled because of a fault in the latch on the driver’s side door, which could cause it to open unexpectedly in the event of an accident.
3 Soy-Based Wiring Attracts Rat
In a bid to be more environmentally friendly, Hyundai – along with many other car manufacturers around the world – have switched to using soy-based wires in their vehicles’ electrics. Unfortunately, this just makes the wires even more appealing to rats and other animals, who can squeeze under the hood and chew on those delicious wires to their heart’s content.
2 Vehicles Recalled Over Fire Risk
Hyundai and Kia – another South Korean car manufacturer – have been told to pay out $760 million to owners affected by a recall because of faulty engines, according to CNET. A total of 4 million vehicles have been fitted with the affected engines, which were found to pose a major fire risk, and hundreds of thousands of vehicles were recalled by the two companies.
1 Hyundai Investigated Over How That Recall Was Conducted
Worse was still to come for Hyundai and Kia, which are now the subject of an investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration over their handling of the incident. According to Reuters, there were 3,000 fires connected to this fault, and the NHTSA is working to establish whether affected vehicles should have been recalled sooner.
Sources: Fleet News, Car Complaints, Hyundai Problems, Edmunds